Dear François FLORENT, I often talk about the social intimidation that culture causes, for example museums, or concerts of what used to be called «great music». Well, today I’m the one who’s intimidated. I have been imitated and impressed because I feel a bit on stage and in the spotlight in front of a great drama teacher if ever there was one. I remember the sequence of an old film that sometimes circulates on the «social networks» of the Net where I give rather pitifully the replica to BOURVIL, and I tell myself that it is not with this baggage that I can take advantage of the teacher’s teaching. And at the same time, I’m not afraid, and I’ll tell you why.
First because someone who discovered his passion for the stage
in front of Madame Butterfly, as I recently learned, can’t be
More seriously, because, as you say beautifully, In my
in any case, we cannot be masterful or didactic”, because
you know how to be an awakener, a scout, a teacher without being
faculty. That is to say for reasons that are related to the decoration that
I will have the pleasure of handing you over later, and first your
humanism and your humanity.
If the School you founded more than forty years ago has become the
temple of the teaching of acting in Paris and France, if the Court
FLORENT has now spread to three sites, if it develops master
class» abroad, up to China, if your adventure won such a
success, and form and has trained so many generations of actors, it is because
that it is based first of all on a principle of welcome and generosity. You
give everyone a chance – and when I say “everyone”, I think
also to the pilot devices that you set up in 1969 with
Francis HUSTER for the less privileged students.
That’s why I’m impressed, but I’m not paralyzed by the
stage fright, because I know that, according to the curriculum of your course, it’s not
still the time of hearing, it is only the first contact, the first
welcome – what you call the “first draft”, which I believe consists of
reading a newspaper article and, who knows, perhaps a speech? You
are a great talent scout, you have patience. You know
that each talent has its own rhythm, its own tempo, which it does not reach
of course, his acmé immediately, which he often presents in a
of which only a few particularly attentive gold seekers, the
of your kind know how to free them in order to
reveal potential that more than one mind less sagacious and less tenacious
Probably would have left it fallow.
I’m not saying this to suggest that you’ve spotted the talent of
“little rabbit” talking about “M'gève” in BOURVIL and Michèle MORGAN,
nor because I know that you accept in your training
as you call it, students aged 7 to 77, but for
to congratulate you with all my heart for the extraordinary contribution of the
institution you founded to the excellence of the dramatic art of
our country. The FLORENT course is a myth, the “entrance of artists” by
excellence in acting, and its very name, a simple
name, which you borrowed, I believe, from your paternal grandfather,
something familiar, it echoes to our ears like that of a
young ideal, of a young actor in full swing.
Because you have discovered so many talents, by Jacques WEBER and
Francis HUSTER to Denis PODALYDÈS or Guillaume CANET, by Isabelle
ADJANI to Agnès JAOUI and Audrey TAUTOU and many others
a few minutes of a speech like this would not be enough to
list... Each of them bears not only the mark of your diction
- and, I am told, of a certain addiction to their former teacher -
also are a constant testimony of your talent for awakening, which is the
in a timid way, in your too modest terms, in which you exercise your
talent of actor, whose you sublimate and multiply in the
sharing and encouraging it in others. With you, the talents
multiply like rolls and each one fructifies as in the
parable: it is probably not a coincidence on the part of someone who, a
time, I believe, dreamed of being pope, and that became, it’s a little easy,
but it’s so true, the pope of drama.
But I think my “first draft” is coming to an end, and it’s time
that you come out of this "obscure clarity" that is dear to you, and from yourself
leave the floor so that you can make your scene, that not
of the pope, but of the «Commander»...
Dear François FLORENT, on behalf of the President of the Republic and in
under our powers, we make you
Commander in the order of MERIT.
Dear Gérard JUGNOT,
If François FLORENT takes us behind the scenes of the theatre, in
this mysterious world of actor training, you start your
another dream, that of the gang of friends who
is pleasing and successful, which touches us precisely because it
is a pleasure. This registered model of the «Splendid» is at the origin of a line
other happy bands, I think of the «Dummies» of which I see here the
"Monsieur météo" (Dominique FARRUGIA), or, more recently, the
“Robins des Bois” – remember that you welcomed the beginnings of the
cinema Jean-Paul ROUVE in Monsieur Batignole.
So in this success story, it all starts – once is not
custom – in Neuilly-sur-Seine… at the Lycée Pasteur, to be precise.
Christian CLAVIER tells how you pretended to be you
hang at the back of the classroom to worry your teacher – but this
was not there only, as we now know, the black humour of
the ungrateful age, but the first steps of a vocation first of all jester
“food”, which then continued to deepen and expand,
to conquer new territories of emotion.
But all these territories, you do not seek to conquer them for yourself,
but, in a way, to give them to us, to share them. Because
you have the gift of looking like the “Monsieur tout le Monde” who you
allows us to embark all in your roles, in experiences of
possible lives, which are sometimes dreamed lives, sometimes, on the contrary,
The range of your pallet is a service you provide to the public, because
it allows us, mere spectators, to explore our own
potential, to push doors by the imagination and better us
orient in life.
Therefore, as resembling as you are, you are not a mirror,
you are a moralist – in the noble and generous sense of the word, with nothing
lecturer. That’s why I want to
to tell you, "You’re a killer, Berthier" (like the hero, in front of his mirror,
in A Great Time).
So you, too, by your roles and your fables, are a teacher
of a particular kind, that kind of teacher we wish we had
had and that we probably would not have had less desire to heckle...
Your career is based on a paradox that may be the key. It’s
on the one hand, you succeed – which is already difficult – in making visible
to sublimate it without distorting it, to reveal what is not
remarkable, which is destined to remain discreet or even hidden and to give it
a dimension, a depth.
On the other hand, once this rare familiarity with the public has been acquired, little by little,
small, without a career plan, guided only by pleasure, by the bulimia of
work and finds, you take us in a range of
exceptional records. In the 1970s at BLIER, LAUTNER, or
TAVERNIER, we find you regularly: from then on your silhouette and
your fluted voice become close, expected, almost indispensable,
they cause the simple pleasure of recognition, as in the past
MOLIERE, they say.
Then gradually, each time, the same strange phenomenon occurs,
which is the characteristic of the great comedian: we recognize you perfectly and
at the same time, your new character, however different
is, each time, perfectly credible. And it is in this youth
(as it is said that a door plays), between the ordinary and its metamorphoses that places itself, I believe, the fascination you exercise.
You never vampire your characters, but you serve them while
staying true to yourself, and that’s why, I think, you knew
make the big difference between some damn garbage, not just Santa,
of course, but also collabos with an unforgettable head voice like the
RAMIREZ de Papy makes resistance, which without compromise or
ambiguity, knows how to make us laugh at the Worst, that is, helps us to approach it
or to tame it without trivializing it or wasting it. You are the goujat
attaching in so many «cult films» or even «series» cults as
Les Bronzés: we all met a BERNARD who
moved out of the apartment to share in the winter sports… And
on the other side of this more or less obscure face, there is clarity… There is Clement
MATHIEU, this generous teacher par excellence who transforms his
children of chorus. You know, in one
only film, move from one register to another, like this Monsieur Batignole who
made us the spectators rejoice of “a surprise of goodness – and of
humanity,” as MARIVAUX once painted “surprises of
This is probably one of the keys to your success that it would be impossible
to list here by the menu, you accumulate rewards, caesars,
for yourself or for the actors of the films you make, with the
talent, since the mid-1980s. You are even at the Museum
Grévin… If I am not mistaken, you only need to have gone through
the FLORENT course... When I see all these great films, all these
success, all these awards, I want to write, with Zette
“You’re smart, Felix”! But I would just add that
modest decoration for the teacher of a popular humanism, in the sense
noble of the term.
Dear Gérard JUGNOT, on behalf of the President of the Republic and
powers vested in us, we make you a Knight in
the order of MERIT.
Dear Cyrielle CLAIR,
I’m going to end up believing in the conspiracy theory: when he trained the most
of the French actors, you have not been
the student of François FLORENT, preferring, I believe, the benches of the
Sorbonne, for studies in economics, and then everything from
the SIMON course, another name that also embodies the
promise of success on the stage.
Dear Cyrielle CLAIR, facing you is another form of shyness that
seizes me, the one who stops us before the apparitions of beauty.
Intimidated, I may well be, since Jean-Paul BELMONDO, Bébel luimême,
He was a “Professional” in the matter…
You tell with tenderness your first big movie kiss with
an ace of aces left and more moved than you would have imagined,
to the point that Georges LAUTNER had to take it back several times for
immortalize you. Today, I reassure you, we will stay at
the usual hug in these kinds of ceremonies, and there will be, I think,
only one take…
From Jean-Paul BELMONDO, you say that you have learned many other things,
and first what must be a great popular comedian, of whom he has you
gave the model. And your career followed this prime inspiration.
Like him, you play with the best on the screen and on the stage.
The first of them is Jean LE POULAIN, with whom you
Start out brilliantly in A Business Dinner.
Then, in chronological order, there is the great Jean-Louis
BARRAULT, whose centenary of
birth, which notices you and gives you your leading role
in Love of Love. It’s the role of Psyche, a princess
of mythology elevated to the rank of goddess: a whole program to which
you will remain faithful during your career… He also takes you on board
in the adventure of Angelo, tyrant of Padua of Victor HUGO, where you
play a Catarina that I imagine radiant, this woman of
“podesta” finally pardoned by her sworn enemy – you say
that I have letters, but I also had the chance to see a very beautiful one
staged this summer at the Festival d'Avignon…
For you eclecticism is a modality of quality, and you pass
also behind the camera of the greatest directors. ROBBE-GRILLET
made of you, who were already counted among the “paradise children” a
“angel of death” which is also, of course, and that’s what’s troubling, a
angel of beauty, an ambitious role to which you have been able to confer your
You who are, for us all, above all, a presence, you who
embody the beauty of cinema and theatre, representing a
some idea – and some reality – of French elegance, you don’t
do not despise the art of language when it is served by its greatest
goldsmiths – I think of Eric ROHMER, whose delicacy and
verbal virtuosity, and that entrusts you with a key role, there are some
years, in that fable about espionage that is Triple Agent.
The list is too long, again, of your successes in France as
Across the Atlantic where you have also been able to promote your image which is
also a little bit ours, and your partners on the stage and on the screen:
Claude LELOUCH, Philippe HAREL, Francis PERRIN, Sean CONNERY,
Burt LANCASTER, Ben GAZZARA, Max von SIDOW, but also Thierry
LHERMITTE, Francis PERRIN, to whom you have a long friendship, Gérard
LANVIN and Gérard DEPARDIEU, and today René de OBALDIA
welcomes the presence this evening among us, in Grasse morning currently
at the Théâtre des Mathurins, funny and tender all together.
Your talent and presence that made you compare to the icons of the
great mythology of the dark rooms, to those sister goddesses who were
Grace KELLY or Candice BERGEN, you know how to put her at the service of
others, and this is what brings you closer to the other two recipients that
I’m lucky to have with me today.
Serving the public first of course, but it’s all one, serving a
humanism which is not only that of the actor, but of the woman
committed in favor of the association CARE de aide aux personnes en difficulté,
for Tibetan children through the association the «Schools in Heaven»
and for childhood abused thanks to «L'Enfant bleu», as many association
to whom you bring your support, your talent and the beauty that
is, as STENDHAL said, a “promise of happiness” and,
as the philosopher Arthur SCHOPENHAUER said, a letter from
Dear Cyrielle CLAIR, on behalf of the Republic, we make you
Officer in the order of ARTS AND LETTERS.